Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to build a free-standing cat / dog / pet gate with virtually no tools

I've been a good and prolific little writer as of late.  Today, I wrote an article on my Hubpages about how I built a free-standing pet gate with no tools and under $25.  I actually came up with the idea just by wandering around and around in Home Depot until the moment came to me.

Click here to read the article.

Here's what the finished product looks like:

                                                  Foiled by the beautiful homemade cat gate!

I'm rather proud of it.  My cats have not found a way to jump over it or move it in the week and a half  I've had it up.

The best part about all this is that I can now have my bedroom door open again... haven't been able to do this since M-the-bed-peeing-cat moved in 5 years ago.  Now, in winter, my bedroom won't be 20* below zero at night!  The humidity level from the shower won't make the room turn into a mini-Jumanji-style jungle atmosphere.  Hooray!

I hope this helps those of you who have been having issues with this sort of thing.  Happy cat-foiling!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Article on weight loss and the French Paradox (a.k.a.: Eat Real Food)

One of the topics about which I'm very passionate is that of real food.  I mostly eat "junk" only when I'm out somewhere and eating for entertainment value as opposed to nutrition.  Almost everything in my kitchen is a basic ingredient that can be turned into a meal: millet, rice, barley, vinegar, oil, vegetables, fruit, etc.  On the occasion that I have boxed foods (I have a secret addiction to plastic-pouch Indian foods), I make sure every ingredient is easily identified.

I think one of the main issues in this country is that of fake / faux foods.  I've seen coworkers or friends proclaiming they need to be "good" and eating nothing but iceberg lettuce sodden with low-cal, low-fat ranch dressing.  This is actually not good; there's practically no nutrition in that.  At best, you'll end up hungry, and at worst, you'll end up with cravings (which tell you you're missing some actual real nutrient) that will drive you to an eating binge later.

Years ago, I wrote an article about this entitled "Weight Loss and the French Paradox."  I had it in my Hubpages account, but never published it.  I'm not sure why.  It just languished there in cyberspace for roughly two and a half years.

I published it this morning.  I guess it could be controversial, to some degree, but truly, it's not just about the French or the Europeans.  Americans used to eat like this up until the late 1960s.  Somewhere along the way, boxed and uber-processed foods became the norm, and real cooking was out.

Click here for the article.  It's a little wordy, but I kind of like it!  Eat real food!

(image courtesy of

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Everyone wants to come in


I was sitting here at home minding my own business when my cats began dashing back and forth across the patio slider door, slamming themselves in to the luckily cat-proof pet gate I had created for it (click here for directions).  On the other side of the gate, this crazy chipmunk baby was not only eating my green beans but also slamming into my screen door as the cats slammed on it from the inside..  So they were pretty much slamming noses across the screen, which, had the screen not been there, would have been bad news for the chipmunk.  There was a whole lot of slammin' going on over here, if you can't tell.

Total wildlife trying to get in through my patio: 

many worms (who manage to slide under the closed glass patio door; 

one bullfrog who also liked to slam repeatedly into the door to try to get in (my Prince Charming maybe??);

one chipmunk; 

and one raccoon (who wouldn't let me IN one day when I went out with the dog after we had exited via the patio door). 

Party at my place!!  It's like The Wind in the Willows over here.

Full view of patio screen panel (requires no tools except for scissors and a sewing needle):


Friday, June 14, 2013

How to make your own no-pull dog harness - an older article

Several years back, I wrote an article on Hubpages about how to make your own no-pull dog harness.  I had actually forgotten much about it until I happened to log in to Hubpages and noticed quite a few comments and views on it.


Click here or on the picture to get to the article.

It's not ok, according to Hubpages, for me to repost the post here, but if you're interested, the information is in the link above.  From all the comments I just noticed (today), it seems that it has helped a lot of people.  Hopefully it works for you, too!

Sock Monkey Classroom Theme - Black Red Polkadot - 45 pages

Click here: Sock Monkey Classroom Theme in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Tired of creepy-looking sock monkeys? They always kind of look ready to leap out of your closet late at night, don't they? This file hopes to remedy this by giving you 45 pages of cute, non-scary sock monkeys waiting to decorate your classroom instead of giving you nightmares. (OK, so there's a possibility they might still be a little creepy, but probably a little less than some others.)

This theme revolves around boy and girl sock monkeys with different hats, and is based on red and black polka-dot and hearts backgrounds. All children's materials are suitable for both boys and girls.

Heart and polka-dot background is used under the terms of use of and provided by All other artwork is mine except letters and numbers are from D'nealian. 

This file includes the following:

Table of Contents ….................... p1
Name tags..................................... p2
Circle labels.................................. p3
Blank posters................................ p4-5
Number pennants......................... p6-15
Alphabet pennants....................... p16-41
Grade book cover........................ p 42
Incentive chart............................ p43
Square labels................................ p44
Plan book cover........................... p45

Alphabet and number pennants can be used for groups, word walls, and alphabet lines. Square labels can be used for calendar squares.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Microwave Brownie Lava Cake

I figured out how to make this almost-instant microwave chocolate brownie lava cake a few weeks ago and have been eating (far too much of) it often lately.  In order to share the happiness, I made this little tutorial. :) It's a great and impressively delicious dessert to whip up when friends show up unexpectedly.  Keep some brownie mix and ice cream on hand, and you can have instant dessert in less than 5 minutes!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Harriet Tubman Research / Note-taking Trade Book Center / Interactive Notebook

Need something to do with a class full of trade books about history? Looking to guide your students' independent note-taking and research? Interested in using interactive notebooks? Need an emergency sub plan that aligns with the curriculum and is always ready to go?

If so, these printable centers / task cards may be just what you need. This particular one focuses on Harriet Tubman, and answers to research questions can be found in most trade books or on related websites.